Vistalago
19
Sep

Viva! Vista Lago

Cutting edge is a phrase over-used by many a hack wielding a keyboard, faced with a work of contemporary art and not having a clue what to say about it. It’s cutting edge, they say. It extends the limits of our perception and forces us to confront the uncomfortable prejudices of our petit-bourgeois presumptions.  And so it goes…

But sometimes a work of art – or architecture – is truly cutting edge. That means a lot more than something that hasn’t been done before (sloping floors, perhaps, for those who would choose to live in a spatially challenging environment). It means something that really does raise the bar to another level, forcing others working in the same area to think again, to follow or to get left behind. It means the right mix of creativity, practicality and know- how on the part of the entire team involved in the project, to achieve a planned result.

It also means having the wisdom to see a house, its immediate setting and its general location as one, and the experience to know exactly what potential clients might want in the new home. Knowing your business as an architect or developer means knowing what kind of person will be living in the house you build, and designing it accordingly.

Vistalago

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: The extension of the outside Mijas stone wall into the lounge makes one hardly aware of where the outside ends and the inside begins. The furniture layout has been arranged to avoid detraction from the view.

Vista Lago Residences comprises 18 design-led villas in one of the most perfect locations in the world. Overlooking a lake and the Mediterranean Sea beyond, with views of the Rock of Gibraltar and Africa;  surrounded by beautiful mountainous terrain that does not obscure the sun, within short driving distance of the largely uninhabited hinterland leading up to Ronda but not more than 15 minutes drive from Puerto Banús and the other stylish urban centres along the coast, this is an exceptional location in an exceptional part of Southern Europe.

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: Entrance and TV Lounge.
The jagged sculptural stairway complements the flowing shapes of the magnificent ceiling lamp, while the sculpture figures (The Visitors by Gardeco) chat eternally under the stairs like a group of Andalusian villagers. 

Design is the key word, and it goes well beyond the design of each actual house. All are designed, as would be expected in such a luxury development, to the highest standards of material and construction, but here, design means a lot more. It means designing for a way of life, for clients who are familiar with, and expect, the best things that life can offer. Exceptional design for exceptional people, because choice of living space defines the individual. These houses are being built for those who really care, and know the difference between elegant simplicity and sophistication. There isn’t one. Just think of Audry Hepburn checking her iPhone.

Vistalago

Above: TV Lounge.
An asymmetrical delight with echoes of the golden ratio. Whether watching one’s favourite programme, reading under the Artemide ceiling lamp or gazing out over the splendid views, this is a room for relaxing in.

Design thinking draws on logic, imagination, intuition and reasoning to explore the possibilities of what could be, and create desired outcomes to benefit the real needs of real people. At this level, great design is more a concept than lines on an architect’s drawing, more about feelings and emotions than statistical wizardry.

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: Above: Dining Room and Kitchen Area.
A functional and beautiful space with a large oak dining table by UDesign, Viccarbe chairs, Argent Linear Chandelier by Terzani, and with a detail that is certainly not trivial: the cooker faces the sea. Behind the kitchen is a utility room with additional fridge, freezer and industrial sink.

The concept is holistic, to the extent that the furniture within has been designed specifically to suit its immediate surroundings (to take just one example), and all interior design will have been completed before construction begins, rather than afterwards, when structural adjustments necessary to accommodate interior design decisions cannot be made. In these houses, all parts of the whole, such as the stairs, are designed as works of art that complement the whole, and absolutely everything has been designed from the start.

Vistalago

Above: Above: Outside Living Space and Pool Area.
This is the view standing with one’s back to the Mediterranean Sea, looking into the house. The infinity pool, as one can see, is an essential part, not only of the main terrace, but of the house itself, and it has stools actually in the water. 

So what exactly makes these houses different? Well, they are quite unlike anything that has gone before, but we can start by saying that, although not as large as some of the mansions built in the area, they feel big, because they have been designed that way. No columns, no wasted space in hallways and corridors, an absence of walls where one would normally expect to find them, a house that works as well outside as in, if one can tell the difference.

Vistalago

Above: Terrace: the word takes on a new meaning in this context. It has five different areas for different activities, from sunbathing and semi-formal outside dining to barbecuing and sipping drinks by the pool. A sunken firepit and glass side pool panels bring fire and water elements together, and a floating BBQ area complete the scene. Sofas are by Tribù.

Little difference, in fact, in a climate that lends itself to outdoor living. The terrace is the key to this concept. It has a total of five different living areas, from traditional sunbathing or siesta taking to varied dining activities (semi-formal sitting-on-chairs dining and stand-around barbeque dining) and using the pool, which, as in all UDesign projects, is designed as an integral part of the terrace, very close to the house itself.

Vistalago

Above: Room with a View. Not just a room with a view, but an entire house with a view. Inside and outside is defined by a discreet line along the floor, and the sea becomes a painter’s broad brushstroke of blue along the horizon.

Heading inside, and the lounge is the first surprise, because the entrance is actually a glass-sided hallway running into the lounge, a transitional area with no visible doors or walls. Seating is on the left, dining on the right, and the views over the infinity pool to the Mediterranean are what it is all about.

The outside/inside concept continues throughout the house, largely due to the all-glass exterior walls wrapped around the front and sides. In key parts of the house, both at ground level and upstairs, the windows disappear into the walls, ensuring perfectly clear views outside and bringing the outside in.  But one can also head downstairs from ground level to a large family entertainment area that provides everything the most demanding client could imagine, and more: cinema, games, sports, cocktail bar if the going gets rough, and all of this with enough space for the entire family to pursue their own leisure activities at the same time.  

Vistalago

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: Entertainment Space. Here we have a sunken cinema, pool table, TV area and cocktail bar, with natural stone elements carved out of the rock and beautifully illuminated. The covered terrace off this room opens to an area outside, shaded by ancient olive trees.

The house also has its own garden gym & spa, all below ground level but with natural light flooding in. The English-style patio features a floor-to-ceiling vertical garden and water fountain, with Jacuzzi, spa and massage table in its own natural environment.

Vistalago

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: Spa & wellness area.
A water fountain reflects the ancient Moorish tradition of flowing water inside a house designed in the contemporary style. Jacuzzi with vertical garden and bamboo, dark stone contrasting with white leather, massage table and total privacy.

Back to ground level again, and the TV area uses details in natural wood to distribute visual attention rather than focus it on the television set in the wall, its modern fireplace adding to the feeling of a room designed for more than simply watching television. The pool outside wraps around the corner, meaning one can also read surrounded by water, and once again, without being fully aware of the border between inside and outside.

Vistalago

Above: Master Bedroom Suite. More than a space for sleeping in, more like a suite in a six-star hotel, this area covers the entire width of the villa. A floating open fireplace separates the sleeping area from the TV area without breaking the line of communication between the two, while the windows disappear into the walls at the touch of a button.

More detailed descriptions of the dining room and kitchen area are provided with their images, but suffice it to say here that if Le Corbusier was right, and a house is indeed a machine for living in, then the kitchen is the core of the engine itself. And so it has been designed: a supremely functional space that allows the user to forget quickly that he or she is actually in such a space, but rather in a beautiful – and workable – environment.

Vistalago

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: A Suite for Living. With an ample terrace leading off it, the master bedroom offers spectacular views over the sea, while the personal lounge area has been cleverly designed to be both an integral part of the bedroom suite and partially separated from it. 

The master bedroom and bathroom have been designed as a master suite and a kind of spa, as luxurious and visually pleasing as every other part of these exceptional houses. The master suite occupies the entire width of the villa, and all windows disappear into the walls. There is a terrace here too, of course, and a built-in office area. 

Vistalago

Vistalago

Above: A Suite for Living. With an ample terrace leading off it, the master bedroom offers spectacular views over the sea, while the personal lounge area has been cleverly designed to be both an integral part of the bedroom suite and partially separated from it. 

This development of only 18 villas is a first in many ways, and can be described in many ways. But simply put: this is a development that offers luxury villas designed and built to exceptional standards, each site allowing for total privacy in an incomparable location, all with incomparable views. Perfection, by definition, is unique.

Vista Lago Residences is developed by Bright. All architecture and interior design by UDesign.

vistalago.es


UD magazine
This article first
appeared in the
6th issue of
UD Magazine.

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